Interest in content marketing has exploded in the past year. In 2012, 19% of marketers ranked content marketing as their primary focus. By 2013 it had become a priority for 37% of marketers, surpassing social media, SEO and email in importance. The trend extends across continents; 60% of marketers in the US and 56% of marketers in Europe said they planned to increase or significantly increase their media spend on branded content.

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A few brands have gone as far as launching freestanding media entities. Red Bull’s Media House, launched in 2007, is a near profitable division. Online and print magazine The Red Bulletin has a circulation on par with Sports Illustrated, and Red Bull-produced documentary The Art of Flight has a $2 million budget.

Overall, content has the ability to accelerate the purchase funnel online and offline. For purchases between $50 and $400, branded content gives purchase intent a 125% lift, more so than user-generated content or third-party articles.

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Yet, many brands are failing to strategically deploy their content production efforts. Too many videos and tutorials are dead ends, not leading the consumer to a purchase destination. Guided selling tools such as fit guides are still catching up to in-store representatives, and much of branded content is not achieving scale. L2’s inaugural Intelligence Report: Content & Commerce examines how the content production and syndication efforts of 80 global brands are contributing to sales and ROI.

 

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